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How to use smartphone tech to accept credit cards at your flea market table

Michael Alterio


Cash has always been king at flea markets and swap meets, but more vendors than ever are using their smartphones as cash registers that let them accept credit cards for payments. With big companies like Visa getting in on the action, the days of requiring a dedicated phone line or paper records are over, since it is now easy and inexpensive to swipe a credit card with a smartphone, such as an iPhone, Blackberry, or Android cell phone. With instant authentication and e-mail receipts, a paperless transaction means flea market customers can spend more money than they happen to have on hand.

As smartphone use grows, the investment to turn that phone into a credit card reader becomes trivial for flea market vendors. ““Mobile technology is now widely used. Everyone has a smartphone, and we can use that to bring costs down,” says Taufiq Mithani, CEO of The Merchant Solutions, a provider of transaction services. “We can tell vendors to just use the cell phone they have now, we’ll give them a free swiper, and it’s just an application on their phone. That makes it easy.”


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